Is there evidence that squats and/or heavy abdominal work are a causal factor in hernias?
I probably shouldn't have posted because I don't have an answer to your question, but I wanted to add my personal experience.
I don't know anyone that lifts that has a hernia. The people that I know who have a hernia, don't lift.
That most likey didn't help you, but maybe there is some knowledge in there nonetheless.
I had bilateral inguinal hernias, thats one on each side of my groin, for about 10 years. I got them as a by-product of having bronchitis for 9 months.
I was able to do heavy squats with absolutely no problem. I had them repaired two years ago and the only times that I experience pain are when I do situps and pushups. I have noticed some lingering soreness around them after deads but nothing after squats.
I wouldnt worry about it.
I know you asked for evidence. And I don't have any. But I believe that hernias are usually caused by a genetic predisposition or weak abs, so strong abs can only help you. The only person I know who herniated working out was deadlifting at the time - and it was an extremely traumatic, rush to the hospital type thing.
I had one as a kid and then when I was in my 30's. It is weakness that I inherited. Anyway, I had it surgically repaired and since have continued heavy squatting and deadlifting with no problems.(now 45) They use a patch in the weak area that is virtually tear proof.
I just had hernia surgery 2 months ago myself. I got my hernia from a case of whooping cough, dispite the fact that I've been powerlifting for 5 years now. Go figure.
Had to enjoy the posts below. Basically hernias do not discriminate based on your hobbies. I had one over 20 years ago when I overdid it moving into a new house.
Last year a world champion lifter from here in Texas had one.
My doc advised me this. Build up the abdominal wall. NO SITUPS, he threatened to kill me if he heard I did them. Said they were useless, and taught me many varieties of leg raises and crunches that worked. Still use them in training today.
My friend and gym owner had a hernia a couple of years ago and took my docs advise and it worked for him too.
Growing old is not for sissies.....
Just had an umbilical hernir repair and I am 5 weeks post. It was an out paitent procedure. I think it was partly due to heavy deads and squats. At least in the umbilical area, its a genectic weakness in everyone. Not a big deal and virtually no pain.
I can't prove it as a cause, but I do know that the only hernia I ever had came several months after I starting doing the kind of squats where you come ALL the way down on your haunches and then spring up. I don't do that type any more.
How does it feel when you squat all the way down? Do you feel any discomfort after squat? The reason I asked is that I am starting to do 'ass to grass' squat and I don't know that's a good idea anymore.
PS-Not meant to hijack, sorry if I did.
I'm not an expert, but I think "ass to grass" is safe if you're not using weights (deep knee bends) or if you are using light weights. As for how it felt to me, actually there was no discomfort while doing these squats in the hernia area. But I did feel psychologically pumped at the time because I was using a fairly heavy barbell (not as heavy as with regular squats) and with my enthusiastic springs up, I thought I was quite the athletic squatter. I guess I was naive. Again, I can't say for sure that this caused the hernia, but I did start having the problem after 15 or 20 such workouts. After the surgery, my doctor did not want me to lift more than 50 pounds ever! AFTER I fully recovered, I completely ignored that advice. It's been almost 4 years now and I'm fine; but I am more careful and safety conscious.
My experience is that heavy deadlifts are more of potential danger than squats (performed correctly), certainly as far as lower back problems are concened.